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Iran, Turkey co-ordinate against Kurds

  • Story Highlights
  • Turkey says it and Iran are coordinating efforts against Kurdish militants
  • Efforts including sharing intelligence, although not joint military operations
  • Kurdish rebels seek independent Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey
  • Turkey fighting PKK, Iran attacked bases of the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan
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ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNN) -- The chief of Turkey's army said Thursday that Iran and Turkey are coordinating efforts against Kurdish militants, including the sharing of intelligence.

Turkey and Iran are not conducting joint military operations, said Gen. Ilker Basbug.

His remarks reflect the complexity of the political and military situation in that region.

"When they start operations, we also conduct operations," said Basbug, who said the Iranians, like the Turks, are engaged in a "serious struggle" with such rebels.

"We share information. They conduct operations from the Iranian side of the border and we plan operations from our side of the border."

Kurds live in a contiguous region across Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria, and those governments long have been on guard against Kurdish separatist militants.

For more than two decades, Turkey has been fighting militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, in the southeast of its nation and in Iraq as well, and it has been getting intelligence help from the United States in its efforts.

Iran has shelled bases of the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan along the Iran and Iraq border, with the latest strikes coming on Monday in northern Iraq, according to a Kurdish regional government official in Iraq.

CNN's Talia Kayali contributed to this report.

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